Sunday, October 05, 2008

Of Poker Chips and Guitar Picks

I am part of, at least to my knowledge, one of the longest standing poker games in South Jersey. A group of reprobates and fellow travelers that I call my friends meet the first of every month to play for nickels & dimes and to catch up with what’s been going on in each other’s lives. We have been doing so for the last ten years (ish). When we started out it was an excuse for us to get together – it still is. I have known these individuals for the last give or take, 25 years – for better or worse. It’s a diverse group of similar individuals.

In between the questions, “Just who are you going to vote for?” and “So, are you going to the reunion?” was a question that got my attention; “Who have you seen in concert?” Now THAT was a good question – something I could sink my teeth into. The roots of said question sprung from the fact that one of our members was able to procure 4 tickets to the AC/DC concert at the Wachovia Center in November; and 4 of the 7 of us, including yours truly, will be going (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise).

This will probably be the last time that the band tours and I think they’re worth checking out before they hang up their guitars. In fact, on the short list of people I wouldn’t mind seeing live; Angus and Co. rank pretty high.

So, sitting there at the poker table, I got to thinking; just who have I seen in concert? I compiled the following list of artists and a short blurb of info next to their listing. I don’t remember dates but I do collect experiences. I might be leaving someone out so please bear with me. Here we go…

Genesis – my first real concert. It was the “Invisible Touch” tour. Great show. They opened with, “Mama” and even covered some of Peter Gabriel’s stuff. Great show.

The Hooters – I saw on the beach in Atlantic City as a free concert sponsored by WMMR. It was summer; I was in long pants – why I’ll never know. I almost passed out and met Pierre Robert for the second time.

Billy Joel – Amazing show. I got into an accident on the way home from Philly. Since then I have learned to never shout, “Lets do something crazy!”

Aerosmith – Good show in Philly.

Def Leopard – Hey look, the drummer has one arm. You’d never know by the sound. This was a great show. They were in the round too. Awesome.

Skid Row – Hair bands – ATTACK!

Queensrych – This was a truly pleasant surprise, it was during the “Operation Mindcrime” tour and they rocked. There’s no other way to put it. Great show.

Def Leopard – Hey look, the drummer’s arm hasn’t grown back yet. Great show once again. The new guitar player who replaced one who passed away did a wonderful job.

Chicago – Peter Cetera just left but the band still brought the goods.

Chicago – Hey, didn’t I just see these guys?

Anderson, Buford, Wakeman & Howe – These are some of the founding members of the progressive band, “Yes”. Very cool show, Anderson walked through the crowd at the Spectrum singing all the way to the stage; very cool indeed.

Jethro Tull – Say what you will, this was a great show. As Ian Anderson says, “A flute is a heavy metal instrument”.

Phil Collins – I’ve always been a Phil fan and he delivered. Great stuff.

Chicago – You know… these guys are familiar.

Beach Boys – I wasn’t too thrilled to go to this show; BUT when you are there and the beach balls are being thrown everywhere and the music is so familiar and catchy you just can’t help but be a Beach Boys fan. This I guarantee. Brian Wilson joined them on stage for a couple of songs as well. Too cool. Yeah, that’s right I said it, the Beach Boys concert was too cool.

Yes – I saw them in the round in Atlantic City; Old Yes and New Yes – or West Coast Yes and East Coast Yes – or whatever they were calling themselves. This was a great show.

Billy Joel – even on a bad night Billy Joel is worth seeing. There will never be another like him. If you get the chance do so. Wow, what a musician.

George Thoroughgood & the Delaware Destroyers – Great stuff from someone who didn’t get a haircut or a real job.

ZZ Top – the little band from Texas. This was a lot of fun. If you like guitar heavy blues you’ve got to give ‘em a listen. Nice. Great show.

Sting – Sting is a consummate musician who suffers for his art. But be warned if you don’t like jazz-fusion mixed with old tried and true favorites then you will be suffering too. I enjoyed the show, Mother Hen not so much.

Phil Collins – This is my third and probably final time seeing Phil live. He was in the round (which is a great way to see a show) and it was wonderful.

Susana Hoffs – Solo from the Bangles. Good stuff, compounded by the fact that I ran into her later in the casino. “Great show.” I stuttered. Oh yeah, I’m a charmer – or at least her bodyguards thought so.

Don Henley – This was a great show. There were four of us who saw him in Atlantic City. Interesting evening. Did I mention it was a great show? “All She Wants to do is Dance” – great song; great musician.

Bella Fleck and the Flecktones – who knew that an electric banjo could be so cool? Not me. I’m a convert now. Good stuff.

Dave Matthews Band – I received these tickets for my birthday from Mother Hen. DMB is one of the great jam bands touring today. If you get the chance, take it. Wonderful show.

Jimmy Buffett – Gentle Reader, as I have said before, I am a Parrothead. This was like mother’s milk, or that cheeseburger that you so desperately need after sailing into that one particular harbor just at ¾ time. What can I tell you – it was Jimmy and I’m most certainly up to another chance to find that lost shaker of salt.

Billy Joel – The Maestro is still in the house. Wonderful show.

Elton John – Another fine piano man. What a great musician and showman. If you get the chance to see him take it; the greats are disappearing so if you get the opportunity do yourself a favor. Mother Hen and I saw him together with Billy Joel. We’d like to return to see a solid evening of Elton. Who knows – it could happen!

Duran Duran – Mother Hen and I saw them at the Tower Theater in Philly. What a great show. Seriously. Man, it brought back memories for both of us. It was the original lineup and Simon and Co. delivered.

Trans Siberian Orchestra – If you are not familiar with TSO think orchestral Christmas Carols fused with the edge of electric power chords from 3 or 4 guitarists. There were between 30 to 40 people on stage with lasers and pyrotechnics. This was an amazing show to experience. You’ve got to see them if you get the chance. You won’t be disappointed.

I have been fortunate to see the shows that I have. There are those that I’d see again in a heartbeat (Jimmy Buffett, TSO, the Hooters, even Duran Duran) and those I can say that I’ve seen once and that was enough. These days I am a very simple man and my tastes drift. I wouldn’t mind seeing X, Dan Zanes, Mac McAnally, Ingrid Lucia and the Flying Neutrinos or even AC/DC.

So there you have it; that’s the list to the best of my recollection at this point. So how about YOU – what are some of your favorite concert experiences?


Bob said...

Invisible Touch tour, eh? I saw one of those shows at the Spectrum too. When I saw the title, I thought you were going to chronicle guitar picks. The only one I have was handed to me by Stills after an acoustic gig in '87 at the Tower Theater.

As for longest poker games . . . I currently am in one that began in the 60s, although I was not part of it then. Another game I used to play in began in the early 70s. A restaurant was purchased in that game long ago. Shoot, it's one I introduced my father to.

Looks like you like progressive rock. :)

Joe Tornatore said...

want to see Transiberian. Ralph C.says it is amazing.

Evil Chicken said...

Bob: Stephen Stills handed you a pick! Now THAT is cool. You got me beat for longest poker game in South Jersey – the 60’s!? Awesome.

Joe: Ralph C; God bless him! If you get the chance, go. What a great concert. I’d love to take the girls – they would LOVE it. You will not be disappointed – I guarantee.

mommanator said...


Evil Chicken said...

Minor correction – sort of… I’ve been told that I was wrong about how many years our poker game has been running. The semi-official number of years now stands at 16; maybe 17. Bob, you still have me beat.

One more performer that I would like to add to the list of artists that I would like to see is Weird Al Yankovic.

What can I say, Al’s got the goods.